Prepared from information supplied by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia
The Australian Thoroughbred population of more than 100,000 racehorses is the second largest in the world after the United States of America. Each year, about 15,000 Thoroughbred foals are born in Australia, and the record of their birth and scientific verification of their parentage is kept by the Australian Stud Book.
The height of the Australian Thoroughbred ranges between 15 and 17 hands. The breed typically has long legs, strong hindquarters, a lean body, a short back and a sculptured, distinguished head. The main recognised Australian Thoroughbred colourations are bay, brown, black, chestnut and grey.
The first imported racehorse is documented to have arrived in Australia in the late 1790s. As the land opened up west of the Blue Mountains, there was more demand for horses in general. In response, India became a source of Arabian horses. The Arabian horses were regularly interbred with English Thoroughbred horses and it only took a few generations to produce the racehorse breed known as the Bloodhorse (an early name for the Thoroughbred) locally in Australia.
The Australian Thoroughbred is defined by its longevity as a breed, its distinct appearance and its active role in the social history of Australia.
Thoroughbreds within Australia and internationally are currently owned and trained principally for racing. However, they can be used in other riding disciplines, including showjumping, steeplechasing, dressage, polo, rodeo and campdrafting. Mounted police divisions employ Thoroughbreds in non-competitive work, and hobby riders also use them recreationally.